Orgs try to keep guns from employer parking lots

Feb. 28, 2008
Court battle continues, with ASIS, ASSE and Brady Center aligning on topic

There's been an ongoing issue as to whether employers have the right to ban guns from being stored in employee's private cars while they are parked in employer parking lots. In the state of Oklahoma, where a high-profile case on the same topic involved ConocoPhillips, a much-contested law rules that businesses do not have the right to ban guns from being stored in employee's cars while they are at work. However, if the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) and ASIS International have their way, that may change.

The three organizations recently teamed up to file a "friend of the court" brief with the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals which encourages the court "to affirm a 2007 federal district court ruling striking down Oklahoma's 2005 guns-at-work law as unconstitutional." That lower court had ruled that the law conflicted with OSHA legislation.

The brief filed jointly by the Brady Center, ASIS and ASSE presented an argument that the presence of firearms "significantly increases the risk of death or serious bodily harm to employees in a situation involving workplace violence." The organizations cited research published in May 2005 by the American Journal of Public Health which said that workplaces which permitted weapons were between 5 and 7 times more likely to be affected by a workplace homicide. That research, conducted by Dana Loomis, Ph.D., Stephen W. Marshall, Ph.D. and Myduc L. Ta, MPH, is available in full from the American Journal of Public Health's archives.

The Brady Center has been a staunch adversary of the National Rifle Association (NRA), which has argued for the right for employees to store their firearms in vehicles, including while on employer premises. That argument by the NRA hasn't been entirely successful, as the business community has in some cases pulled together to strike down laws that would have allowed employees to store weapons in their cars while parked on employer property. Such was the case in April 2006, when a similarly proposed bill was voted down in the state of Georgia. According to the Brady Center, similar laws and bills have been voted down in Texas, Florida, Virginia and Indiana.

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